Act fast to benefit from Countryside Stewardship funding
Following the government’s recent announcement that they will honour existing and new agri-environment agreements beyond the UK’s departure from the EU, (provided an agreement to the new scheme is in place before this year’s Autumn Statement) farmers and landowners are advised to get their skates on, the application deadline for the Countryside Stewardship Scheme is 30 September.
Countryside Stewardship (CS) provides financial incentives for land managers to look after their environment through activities such as:
• conserving and restoring wildlife habitats
• flood risk management
• woodland creation and management
• reducing widespread water pollution from agriculture
• keeping the character of the countryside
• preserving features important to the history of the rural landscape
• encouraging educational access
The scheme is open to all eligible farmers and landowners but it is a competitive scheme with points awarded based on how well the application enhances local priority targets so as to maximise environmental benefit.
There are three main elements to the scheme; the Mid Tier, Higher Tier and Capital Grants schemes. The Higher Tier Scheme is primarily available to those farmers who are leaving an existing Higher Level Stewardship Scheme but the Mid Tier Scheme is of interest to farmers more widely, as is the Capital Grant scheme.
Last year was the first year of this scheme and a disappointing number of applications were received because the scheme rules are relatively complicated and the level of financial support lower than the predecessor schemes. However, possibly because of this, our experience was that all the applications we submitted on behalf of clients in the south west were accepted.
In making an application one must obviously focus on the priority targets for your area and these can be found on line here
Natural England are tasked with running the scheme and if anyone wants to find out more about it, the contact details are:
County Hall, Spetchley Road
Telephone 0300 060 3900
Hollie advises on general professional matters including landlord and tenant issues, sales and letting of rural property and valuations. As well as this Hollie provides advice on the Single Payment Sc...